Like fashion, the weather, and the outfits Taylor Swift wears in her music videos (she must have dozens of clothes, literally dozens), our methods of advertising are always changing. Yet like all these things, trends can be spotted and eras can be identified over time.
Undoubtedly, this is the era of digital advertising and to skip the history lesson, consumers have led the advertising flock (or herd, if that’s your style) to online search engines.
Google – it doesn’t even need an introduction, does it? The fact that contemporary consumers visit Google to discover and research their prospective purchases means that Google’s front page of search results is extremely coveted by businesses eager to be found by their market. Google’s advertising service, AdWords, is now the company’s main source of revenue. AdWords earned Google $59 billion in 2014 and the reason for this hugely profitable reception is quite simple:
But doing it well is not easy – and nor should it be. Despite the power that front page exposure grants, adverts there are still subject to the same scrutiny that any other ad must endure.
And there are limitations too. The spoils of Google’s advertising service are accessible only once you embrace and master the twenty-five character limit of your AdWords headline, and then the seventy character limit of your two lines of description. The URL, if you want to count it, will only display thirty-five characters, too.
This all makes sense, albeit at the expense of the advertisers; short ads means more ad space for Google to sell, and it means that organic results aren’t undermined.
Some businesses earn an incredible increase in conversions through AdWords, whilst others invest money into the service and see little more than a trickle out the other side.
So how do you master such tight parameters and deliver a compelling ad that’s going to be hitting the bullseye of your target audience?
EVERY CHARACTER COUNTS
Don’t repeat stuff, it’s silly
It’s important to accept how limited AdWords is in terms of displaying information. Every single word that’s used in your ad must be carefully chosen, because you can’t afford to have text that doesn’t add value.
A common mistake to avoid is repeating information that’s already been revealed, whether in the URL, headline or description. Even if this is a potent selling point or a reinforcement of your brand, any repetition will squeeze out the chance for novel information that might be the tipping point of a customer’s click.
ENRICH YOUR AD WITH NUMBERS
Figures are facts, and people want them
People want rich information that outlines the qualities and favourable elements of what they’re purchasing. Numbers translate to specifications, which are the nitty-gritty details that allow buyers to be comparative with what they’re buying and remain informed.
Basically, numerical data, no matter how minimal, is valuable to the consumer.
For example, the simple addition of a number (‘1.29%’) provides more value than an alternative description that might include superlative but vaguer language, such as ‘lowest rates nationwide’.
EMPATHISE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Dig deep into your market’s needs and sync with your USPs
The reality of AdWords is that your ad will inevitably be nestled amongst others that are selling similar products. To successfully get the attention of potential leads and earn the click that your competitors are all vying for, it’s crucial that your ad appeals to your market’s desires, thoroughly.
The best way to achieve this is to focus on providing complete gratification of the desire that’s expressed in the lead’s search query. You want to resemble your lead’s end goal as closely as possible. This takes research – what are the various reasons that somebody is searching for something and which benefits are valued over others?
If, for example, you’re setting up an advert for ‘bicycle repair’, keyword research and audience profiling might tell you that ‘bike repair’ is also accompanied by an interest in weekend services. What d’ya know, your bike shop is open on Saturday till 4pm. It’s a USP that directly satisfies your market – push it.
By including details like this in your ad, you’re satisfying the multiple facets of your audience’s values. This point is integral to all marketing, in that it is based on knowing your audience; but with such narrow parameters, it can be difficult to convey yourself persuasively, so…
MAKE YOUR CTAs ALL ACTION
Actionable instructions compels your audience to y’know…act
Call to actions – the short, powerful instructions that take leads through the pearly gates of conversion. They’re successful because they provide the final effort to compel visitors to click through.
Giving a truly persuasive CTA to visitors is going to be the impetus that gets people to click through without delay. Obviously, a CTA is going to be limited with AdWords, yet by appealing to the emotions of your leads, it won’t matter.
Ideally, one of your lines in your Google ad should be an imperative statement – you want to give a command and effectively make your lead’s next move as straightforward as possible. Reinforcing it with words like ‘now’ and ‘today’ makes your CTA more urgently in need of a sweet old clicking.
By using language that elicits a response from your leads and suggests a sense of immediacy, you’re minimising the chances of them delaying action or from feeling indifferent.
ENSURE YOUR LANDING PAGE MATCHES YOUR AD
If a customer’s click doesn’t lead them to a consistent page, you’ve threatened their attention
Too often do marketers spoil their leads by having their ads link through to a page that’s totally removed from the service their Google ad promised. It’s like opening a door with ‘AMAZING CHOCOLATE WITHIN’ written on it in chocolatey writing and stepping through to find yourself in ASDA’s produce section. You know the chocolate is around there somewhere, but you’re disappointed, feeling misled and many people sadly end up relinquishing their intention to purchase the chocolate (i.e. your advertised product).
It’s vital that whatever you’re offering on your ad is the primary subject of your landing page.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXTENSIONS
Extensions allow you to share more relevant information
Ad extensions allow those searching for your services to see additional information on your business, such as your location, your seller rating and more.
Given the character limitations of AdWords, ad extensions allow businesses to squeeze in a little bit more to increase those CTRs. Considering your cost-per-click isn’t affected by extensions, implementing them should be a priority. There are a host of different extensions that can be added, from mobile app download links to automatic rating displays.
Pay-per-click is one of the few methods of advertising that has a directly measurable rate of success. You’re charged per click and each of those clicks – depending on the quality of ad and landing page – is a possible conversion. Ensure your ad copy is up to scratch and that your AdWords are getting you the conversions you deserve.